What I've been up to lately
So, if you've seen my previous entry, you will have seen it mentions carpal tunnel syndrome. Here's the basics.
Back at the end of March, just before the country went full lockdown and everything went crazy, I noticed when I was working away at work, my left hand was feeling a bit ... burny. Like, if you've ever put Deep Heat or Icy-Hot or something mentholated like that onto skin where there's no underlying muscle problems, that's what it felt like. First time I felt it, I wrote it off as minor fuss and bother. But then it persisted. So I called my GP, who sent me off to get ultrasound scans of my wrists, on the suspicion it was carpal tunnel syndrome.
Well, the scans came back normal. Mostly normal, anyway - I have bifurcated medial nerves on both hands (or in other words, instead of having one nerve laying alongside the vein in the carpal tunnel, the nerve is split in two, and lies on either side of the vein) but this is apparently a pretty normal human variation, nothing to be concerned about. I switched to an ergonomic keyboard, which made it easier to type for longer before the burny feeling came back, and carried on.
Then last Tuesday, I overdid things, and wound up with my hands actually hurting me, and with a complete lack of grip strength on my left side (couldn't hold a tablet PC for longer than about a half a minute before my strength gave out). I had a minor breakdown (oh gods, crippled for life!!!!1!) and called my GP back. He referred me to an OT who is a hand / arm specialist, and I saw her today. Described all my symptoms, she did a bit of an exam, and the diagnosis is an overuse injury (caused by the fact I type pretty constantly for work; my main hobby is creative writing which I also type for; and then I socialise online by... typing some more). So I have to rest things.
I've been given a splint, and I have to rest my hands, massage the hand and forearm on a daily basis, and take breaks from typing every hour. Heat pack on the hand and forearm if I start feeling pain / discomfort. Come back in two weeks for a follow-up appointment.
So, this is why I have largely been maintaining radio silence for most of the past month and a half. And will be continuing to do so for the next however long, until either my hands heal up, or I wind up getting speech-to-text software.
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There's Supposed to be a Post Here
Here's what's happened. I've promised myself I'd post something to this journal at least once a week, and try and make it something interesting and worthwhile. Problem is, at the moment, I'm going through something of a depressive patch, which means whenever I pull out one of the not-quite-done pieces I have stored on my hard drive, and try to get it into a shape where I'd be satisfied with posting it, I wind up with the brain-weasels attacking from all sides.
I won't bore you with the details of what the brain-weasels are saying. Suffice it to say they're invasive, vicious, and nasty, and they're not helping me have any confidence in any of my writing at this point. Or indeed, in anything I can do. It happens, depression sucks, I'll live through it.
But it does mean I'm not able to come up with a post at this present.
So, in the interests of fulfilling my promise to myself, let's just say this is this week's post, and have done with it. As per Douglas Adams, normal service will resume just as soon as I've figured out what counts as "normal" in the first place.
PS: If there's anyone in the Perth, WA area who happens to know the name of a psychologist who bulk bills and who has a space for new patients, I'd be overjoyed to receive the information.
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Dear Neck and Right Shoulder muscles,
Thank you so much for showing me just how often I toss and turn during the night. I would have appreciated learning this by a different means, however. The bit where you decided to lock up entirely and make any shifting on the bed into an exercise in almost literally screaming agony wasn't really necessary. Neither was the bit where eventually making any change required me to wake up for long enough to physically sit up, rather than roll over. The way you're locked up at present, to the point where sitting with my head upright is a constant throb, and where I can turn my head in the horizontal plane (left to right) about forty-five degrees, and in the vertical plane (side to side) about twenty degrees is just over-egging the pudding, quite honestly. So was making the brushing and combing of my hair into an exercise in agony earlier today. So, whatever it was I did to make you feel this way, I truly regret it, and I will see about not doing it ever again, once I can actually figure out what it was.
Now could you kindly unlock enough to allow me to perform those tasks as are required for the day's routine, pleasethankyou?
Yours in agony,
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Weekly Update 15 JUL 2017
This week I had a tooth crack on me on Wednesday. This resulted in a trip down to the local government dental clinic "emergency" sessions at 8.15 in the morning on Thursday, and a third tooth extracted. I'm sitting here with a hole in my jaw which is throbbing at me, but recovering pretty much on schedule.
( Gory dental details under the fold )
I feel inclined to send the dentist a thank-you card, and the hope the rest of her day's work wasn't anywhere near as frustrating.
I'm currently on a diet of soup, pasta, and other such mush until my jaw heals up enough that attempts to chew aren't interpreted as a direct assault on and by every tooth in my head. It's not actually the socket which hurts when I chew, it's the other teeth near the socket, all of which got jostled around in the process. Clenching my jaw is not likely to happen for at least another fortnight at this rate. I'm taking nurofen (ibuprofen) on a regular basis to deal with the pain (down from every four hours on Thursday to about every six hours today, I think) and hoping things will clear up soon. I'm also on a course of antibiotics (amoxicillin) to prevent any infection, so one of those three times daily, plus rinsing 4 times a day with warm salt water.
I trust I don't need to point out this is a good reason to keep up with brushing your teeth? Trust me, this stuff isn't fun.
Hopefully I'll wind up on their maintenance schedule, and I'll be able to see about things like replacements for the three teeth which have been removed so far (as well as maybe getting a bit of work done on my right-hand incisor, which is also gradually chipping away).
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